In this tutorial, we will go over the entire process of creating a beautiful fantasy render using Arnold 6 GPU, Maya, XGen, ZBrush, and Photoshop. First of all, we will start with the base mesh in pose using ZBrush from a mannequin preset or ZSpheres. Then we will sculpt a face, hands, and parts of the body that will be used in the render. After that, we will export the whole mesh to Maya and start to make the guides in Ornatrix. We will use a special Draw Strand tool to achieve the heart forms of the hair. Finally, we will create the hair using XGen and render it with Arnold Renderer 6 on GPU.
01 POSE THE MANNEQUIN
First of all, we need to create a base mesh in ZBrush. To create it, we will use the mannequin preset from the standard library. The mannequin collection is located in the LightBox, in the Mannequin folder. You just need to go into this folder, choose a female mannequin 8HeadFemale_Ryan_Kingslien.ZPR and double-click on it. It will appear in the ZBrush viewport. Next, using the left mouse button, move the limbs, and put them in the desired position by simply clicking and pulling in the right direction.
02 CREATE ADAPTIVE SKIN
After we put the mannequin in a pose, it’s time for a basic sculpture. First of all, you need to turn this dummy into Adaptive Skin. In the Adaptive Skin tab, which is located in Tools on the right, use the default settings, and click Make Adaptive Skin. After that, go up and select the resulting object called Skin_Mannequin to start working with it. This is a readymade mesh that can work with all the sculpt brushes.
03 SCULPT A BASE MESH
To sculpt a basic shape, first, you can use the four brushes, Standard, Inflate, Clay, and Move-in Sculptris Pro mode. This mode allows you to quickly smooth out unnecessary parts with a large radius of the brush using the Shift key, or vice versa to add small details using a small radius. At this first stage, we are sculpting just to find the proportions and primary shapes, so we don’t need to get involved in detailing. It is important to sculpt the foundation while maintaining all the proportions and correct posture, but don't spend too much time blocking.
04 DETAIL THE ANATOMY
For detailing, you can basically use the same brushes plus Dam Standard, Trim Dynamic, and Pinch. To make it convenient to work on a specific part, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+left mouse button and select the desired part of the geometry to hide everything else. I also check references in the Anatomy For Sculptors book and do all the detailing for the face and other parts of the body. Don't forget about the so-called Landmarks, these are places where the bone is located closest to the surface of the skin and therefore protrudes slightly. Many beginners make this mistake initially.
Since we won't use this mesh in animation, just for rendering, you can do auto-retopology using the Quad Remesher plugin for Maya. This is a plugin from the ZRemesher developer and it forms a mesh suitable for further development and transfer of all parts using the high-poly mesh. Auto-retopology is easy. Import a high-poly mesh into Maya, then run the plugin. You can leave all the default settings; 100,000 quads will be enough.
06 CREATE UVs IN RIZOMUV
RizomUV is a revolutionary program for creating, packaging and optimizing your UV sets. First, you need to select the edges you want to cut. To select edge loops, just double-click on one edge. If you want to select a specific set of edges, just hold Shift. To deselect, hold Ctrl. As soon as you select the desired edges, press the C key to make a cut and U to make an unfold.
07 TRANSFER FROM HIGH-POLY TO RETOPOLOGY
When the retopology and UV are ready, we proceed to transfer the high-poly parts, since during auto retopology some of the small parts may be lost – for example in the eyes, lips and nose area. To do this, import the retopology mesh back into ZBrush and transfer all the details using the Project tool. Don’t rush to immediately smooth the retopo mesh and bring its number of polygons closer to the high-poly model. Press Ctrl+D and select ProjectAll. Then, use the same key combination and bring the number of polygons closer to high poly. Export the new model to Maya.
08 LIGHTING SETUP: PART 1
We will illuminate the scene with the three-point lighting method – using a Key, Back (Rim), and Fill light. Back (Rim) is located behind and is used to emphasize the contour, Fill highlights the darkened areas of the image and Key is the main source for the formation of shadows and the base spot of light. But we are modifying it a bit since the girl is lying on the floor and not all contours are important in this composition, so Back (Rim) will play a different role. Key will remain the main one, and Fill will slightly emphasize the contour, but not as sharply as usual.
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